The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has launched Food and Safety Guidelines for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs)
The guidelines are meant for mainstream food safety issues in the operations and by-laws of the MMDAs.
Drafted in collaboration with the Ministries of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Environment, Science and Technology Innovation (MESTI), Finance (MoF) and Women in Agriculture Development Directorate (WIAD), a non governmental organisation, the guidelines are also to bring together all existing guidelines on food safety into one document in order to streamline food safety regulation and enforcement.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Minister of MLGRD, Hajia Alima Mahama, said the MMDAs were the focal points for the implementation of these guidelines and that they would be required to develop and mainstream them into their respective by-laws.
She said the purpose of the collaboration was to implement the Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) programme, which was introduced in 2017 as part of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of improving the production efficiencies of farmers to impact the local economy in the various communities.
She said the MAG programme was focused on strengthening and modernising agricultural extension service delivery at the national, regional and district levels and having it operate within the decentralisation policy, with MLGRD as a key implementing partner.
Hajia Mahama stated that expected outcome of the MAG programme was a “more modern, equitable and sustainable agricultural sector that contributes to food security” improved rural economy.
At the core of the MAG programme, she said, was food safety and its impact in ensuring food wholesomeness and security for the population.
She indicated that the development of appropriate food safety systems contributed significantly to improved public health, increased access to food trade, reduction in poverty, protection of the environment, enhanced productivity and the overall national development.
According to Hajia Mahama, the concept of food safety includes the development of appropriate systems to protect food supply from microbial, chemical and physical hazards through production, harvesting, processing, storage, transportation and marketing activities.
She said the objectives of developing the guidelines included ensuring food safety, which will guide food producers, processors, transporters, marketers and exporters to build the capacity of the various actors in the food safety chain.
It was also meant for improving health and safety, and sensitizing the public to the implementation of the by-laws on food safety.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Delese Mimi Darko, said the guidelines would help raise the standards of food safety at the various MMDAs.
She said her outfit would continue to offer technical support for Environmental Health Officers to, in turn, train other stakeholders in the various communities to ensure food safety was achieved.
He urged the MMDAs to use the guidelines fairly to improve and achieve food safety in their respective districts and affirmed the commitment of the FDA to continue to collaborate with all assemblies to ensure adherence to the guidelines